Portrait of the military (1866) by Ilya Repin

Portrait of the military - Ilya Repin - 1866

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of the military
ArtistIlya Repin
Art MovementRealism

About Portrait of the military

The artwork titled “Portrait of the Military” by Ilya Repin, dated to 1866, is a quintessential example of the Realism art movement, situating itself within the genre of portraiture. This piece is reflective of Repin’s ability to capture the authenticity and character of his subjects through meticulous attention to detail and his commitment to portraying the real world.

The portrait depicts a highly decorated military figure, suggesting a person of high rank and distinction. The individual is presented against a dark, nondescript background, emphasizing his visage and regalia. His attire includes a dark, ornately decorated military uniform with gold epaulettes, medals, and various insignia pinned across the chest, signifying a career of notable service and achievements. The uniform, resplendent with decorations, is rendered with great precision, conveying the tactile qualities of fabric and metal. The subject maintains a dignified pose with one hand visible, gently resting on what appears to be a sword hilt, further emphasizing his military status.

The subject’s facial expression is solemn and composed, with keen eyes reflecting experience and perhaps the gravity of his profession. The striking realism for which Repin is known is evident in the lifelike representation of textures and nuances of the subject’s complexion, hair, and the formidable mustache.

In all, this portrait exudes the dignity and solemnity befitting a figure of military prominence, encapsulating the subject’s character through the artist’s mastery of form, light, and detail—all characteristics of the Realism movement’s desire to reflect the truth of human existence.

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